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Does a Seller Really Want Another Bidder?

Jeremy I. Bulow and Paul D. Klemperer (AER, 1996) argue that the usual concerns of auction design miss the big picture, and show that a simple English auction without a reserve price and N + 1 bidders attains expected revenue in excess of any auction with N bidders. The issue of how this additional bidder might be attracted is not treated in their model. In fact, that an auction can convince another bidder it is worth his while to compete carries a critical message about expected revenue. In those many markets where potential bidders decide whether to compete in an auction based on the expected probability of bidding, Bulow and Klemperer's conclusion is shown here to be overturned. I explore the symmetric equilibrium of a model where potential bidders first decide whether to participate in an auction, and then participants select bidding strategies. Expected revenue is increased by some degree of bidder discouragement, in that it is never optimal to have all N potential bidders participate with probability one, even for very small N

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0711.

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Length: 12 pgs.
Date of creation: 15 May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0711
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  1. Robert H. Porter, 1992. "The Role of Information in U.S. Offshore Oil and Gas Lease Auctions," Discussion Papers 1008, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Jacques Crémer & Yossi Spiegel & Charles Zheng, 2009. "Auctions with costly information acquisition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 41-72, January.
  3. Professor Paul Klemperer, 2000. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Microeconomics 0004008, EconWPA.
  4. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles R. Plott & John Wooders, 2004. "Bidders' Choice Auctions: Raising Revenues Through the Right to Choose," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 504-515, 04/05.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley & Genesove, David, 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real-Estate Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 501-05, May.
  6. Eliaz, Kfir & Offerman, Theo & Schotter, Andrew, 2008. "Creating competition out of thin air: An experimental study of right-to-choose auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 383-416, March.
  7. repec:bla:restud:v:67:y:2000:i:3:p:439-54 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. James Cox & Sam Dinkin & James Swarthout, 2001. "Endogenous Entry and Exit in Common Value Auctions," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 163-181, October.
  9. Hausch, Donald B & Li, Lode, 1993. "A Common Value Auction Model with Endogenous Entry and Information Acquisition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 315-34, April.
  10. Laffont, J.J., 1996. "Game Theory and Empirical Economics: The Case of Auction Data," Papers 95.394, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  11. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  12. Bergemann, Dirk & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2001. "Information Structures in Optimal Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 2991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Harstad, Ronald M. & Pekec, Aleksandar Sasa & Tsetlin, Ilia, 2008. "Information aggregation in auctions with an unknown number of bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 476-508, March.
  14. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-92, June.
  15. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  16. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  17. McAfee, R Preston, 1993. "Mechanism Design by Competing Sellers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1281-1312, November.
  18. Harstad, Ronald M, 1990. "Alternative Common-Value Auction Procedures: Revenue Comparisons with Free Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 421-29, April.
  19. Douglas K. Reece, 1978. "Competitive Bidding for Offshore Petroleum Leases," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 369-384, Autumn.
  20. Harstad, Ronald M. & Michael H. Rothkopf, 1995. "An "Alternating Recognition" Model of English Auctions," Discussion Paper Serie B 348, University of Bonn, Germany.
  21. Burguet, Roberto, 2007. "Right to choose in oral auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 167-173, May.
  22. French, Kenneth R & McCormick, Robert E, 1984. "Sealed Bids, Sunk Costs, and the Process of Competition," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 417-41, October.
  23. Michael H. Rothkopf, 1969. "A Model of Rational Competitive Bidding," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(7), pages 362-373, March.
  24. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1007-1033, May.
  25. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "Allocation Mechanisms and the Design of Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1477-99, November.
  26. Samuelson, William F., 1985. "Competitive bidding with entry costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 53-57.
  27. Gaver, Kenneth M & Zimmerman, Jerold L, 1977. "An Analysis of Competitive Bidding on BART Contracts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(3), pages 279-95, July.
  28. repec:att:wimass:9215 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Gale Ian L. & Hausch Donald B., 1994. "Bottom-Fishing and Declining Prices in Sequential Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 318-331, November.
  30. Milgrom, Paul R, 1981. "Rational Expectations, Information Acquisition, and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 921-43, June.
  31. Roberto Burguet, 2005. "The condominium problem; auctions for substitutes," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 73-90, 04.
  32. repec:bla:restud:v:44:y:1977:i:3:p:511-18 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Ronald M Harstad, 2011. "Endogenous Competition Alters the Structure of Optimal Auctions," ISER Discussion Paper 0816, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
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